Yoga is beyond any religion and its benefits transcend from helping achieve physical and emotional wellness to contributing to global sustainable development and peace, leading personalities said in United Nations on the occasion of the third International Day of Yoga.
The United Nations endorsed the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, by adopting General Assembly resolution 69/131 that proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. Recognizing the universal appeal of yoga, the United Nations marked the 2017 edition of the International Day of Yoga, which aims to integrate the benefits of healthy lives and wellbeing – essential aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
India’s Permanent Mission to the UN organised a special session ‘Conversation on Yoga for Health’ at the world body’s headquarters on Wednesday that brought together an eminent line up of experts, including World Health Organisation New York Executive Director Nata Menabde, Actor Anupam Kher, Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan.
Addressing an audience that comprised UN diplomats, envoys, officials and yoga practitioners, Menabde said “Yoga is a practice that can be relevant to all ages, relevant to all cultures, irrespective of what socio-economic status people represent. It can be used to unite our complex and difficult world to promote not only healthy lifestyles but to promote peace and security in the world.”
She said the practice of yoga is playing a key role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal number three that focuses on healthy life and well being for all. Terming yoga as a “holistic” and integral science of life, she added that yoga is a “unifying concept” that can be beneficial to millions of people experiencing distress in situations of crisis. “Yoga is always there with you,” she said underscoring that “it is for people of all religions, races and nationalities because Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a lifestyle.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati termed Yoga as a system of union and wholeness that brings people the “experience of being complete,” not because of what degree they have, their bank balance or their physical appearance but with the spiritual wholeness and mental well-being.
Kher, in a lively and engaging speech to the audience, shared how yoga played a very important role in his life and taught him to be content with what he has and to be truthful to himself. Describing the modest household he grew up in, Kher said “yoga taught us to be happy with whatever God gave us. Yoga is also about having a truthful and honest conversation with yourself. Yoga is not telling a lie to yourself. It teaches you to be happy with yourself,” he said.
Other panelists at the session Former NFL athlete turned yogi Keith Mitchell and CEO of Bluechip Marketing Worldwide Stanton Kawer shared with the transformational impact yoga has had on their personal and professional lives. The session was the second flagship event organised by the Indian Permanent Mission to mark International Yoga day this year.
On June 20, over 1,000 people, including UN diplomats and officials, had assembled at the sprawling North Lawn of the UN headquarters and participated in the two-hour-long yoga and meditation session. Thousands of people had also gathered at the city’s iconic tourist destination Times Square for the ‘Solstice in Times Square’.